Datomic Setup

I’ve recently been exploring Datomic more seriously and have found myself jumping through the same hoops as I have in the past just to get things up and running. I’ve also encountered slight deficiencies in the documentation that I’ve had to re-investigate since the exploratory project I created was deleted quite a while ago.

I’m tired of retracing my same steps over and over again so I thought I’d create a quick post with some of the basic steps to get setup and using Datomic in a Clojure application.

This is just going to cover the basics. Datomic does some crazy things I haven’t had a chance to try yet, like using rules, querying the database at a particular instant in time, or getting a list of changes to an entity.

Installing Datomic

You do not need to install Datomic to get started, you can use the in-memory database.

Go here: https://my.datomic.com/downloads/free and find the latest version.

Then add [com.datomic/datomic-free "<the-latest-version>"] to your Leiningen project.

Component Setup

This is pretty easy, but you should have something like this:

(ns my-project.components.datomic
  (:require [com.stuartsierra.component :as component]
            [datomic.api :as datomic]))

(defrecord DatomicComponent [uri conn]
  (start [this]
    (if (:conn this)
        (assoc this :conn (datomic/connect uri)))))
  (stop [this]
    (assoc this :conn nil)))


Schema should be ideally be kept in an EDN file and loaded on demand:

(def schema
      (slurp (io/resource "my_project/schema.edn"))))

(defn create-schema [conn]
  (datomic/transact conn @schema))

Here is what your schema might look like:

; resources/my_project/schema.edn

  {:db/id #db/id[:db.part/db]
   :db/ident :cake/name
   :db/valueType :db.type/string
   :db/cardinality :db.cardinality/one
   :db/fulltext true
   :db/doc "The name of a cake"
   :db.install/_attribute :db.part/db}

  {:db/id #db/id[:db.part/db]
   :db/ident :cake/owner
   :db/valueType :db.type/ref
   :db/cardinality :db.cardinality/one
   :db/doc "The owner of a cake"
   :db.install/_attribute :db.part/db}

  {:db/id #db/id[:db.part/db]
   :db/ident :user/email
   :db/unique :db.unique/value
   :db/valueType :db.type/string
   :db/cardinality :db.cardinality/one
   :db/doc "Email address of a user"
   :db.install/_attribute :db.part/db}

  {:db/id #db/id[:db.part/db]
   :db/ident :user/phone-numbers
   :db/valueType :db.type/string
   :db/cardinality :db.cardinality/many
   :db/doc "Contact numbers for a user"
   :db.install/_attribute :db.part/db}

Information on defining your schema and all the options available is documented here.

Seed Data

Like your schema, any seed data should be kept in a separate file:

(def seed-data
      (slurp (io/resource "my_project/seed.edn"))))

(defn seed-db [conn]
  (datomic/transact conn @seed-data))

Here is what your seed data might look like:

; resources/my_project/seed.edn
  ;; Users
  {:db/id #db/id[:db.part/user -1000001]
   :user/email "sally@test.com"
   :user/password "supersecret"
   :user/phones ["8469481047", "9471038596"]}

  {:db/id #db/id[:db.part/user -1000002]
   :user/email "bob@test.com"
   :user/password "secret"
   :user/phones ["1234567890", "0987654321"]}

  ;; Cakes
  {:db/id #db/id[:db.part/user]
   :cake/owner #db/id [:db.part/user -1000001]
   :cake/name "Carrot"}
  {:db/id #db/id[:db.part/user]
   :cake/owner #db/id [:db.part/user -1000001]
   :cake/name "Cheese"}
  {:db/id #db/id[:db.part/user]
   :cake/owner #db/id [:db.part/user -1000002]
   :cake/name "Carrot"}

Queries & Updates

The operations to be performed on an entity should be confined to it’s own namespace:

(ns my-project.users
  (:require [datomic.api :as datomic]
  ; Note the change from using a dash to an underscore
  (:import [my_project.component.datomic DatomicComponent]))

(defprotocol UserOps
  (all [this])
  (by-email [this email])
  (save! [this user])

(extend-type DatomicComponent
  (all [this]
    (datomic/q '[:find [(pull ?user [*]) ...]
                 :where [?user :user/email]]
               (datomic/db (:conn this))))
  (by-email [this email]
    (datomic/q '[:find [(pull ?user [*])]
                 :in $ ?email
                 :where [?user :user/email ?email]]
               (datomic/db (:conn this))
  (save! [this user]
    (datomic/transact (:conn this) user)

The [(pull ?user [*]) ...] is an example of Datomic’s pull syntax. This basically says “after all ?users, bring in all of their attributes. Be careful when using the wildcard * as this will recursively pull any component attributes.

Traversing refs forwards and backwards

It’s possible to pull in refs by specifying them in the pull pattern. If you wanted cakes with their owners:

(datomic/q '[:find [(pull ?cake [* {:cake/owner [*]}]) ...]
             :where [?cake :cake/owner]]

If however you wanted the reverse, users and their cakes:

(datomic/q '[:find [(pull ?user [* {:cake/_owner [*]}]) ...]
             :where [?user :user/email]]

Recursive (graph) queries

This is one I haven’t found a good real world use case for yet, but it is possible. Read the following if you’re looking at doing these kinds of queries:




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